BESE's Responsibility

Louisiana’s State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education provides leadership and creates policies for education that expand opportunities for children, empower families and communities, and advance Louisiana in an increasingly competitive global market.


The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) was established by the Louisiana Constitution with the responsibility for governing all Louisiana public schools within the following categories:

  • Elementary schools
  • Secondary schools (middle and high schools)
  • Special schools for the deaf, blind, and physically handicapped
  • Educational units in the state’s correctional institutions and mental facilities (Special School Districts 1 and 2).

To meet this responsibility, BESE has the authority to create policies that govern the statewide operations of public and non-public schools, to administer the budget for educational programs and services at those schools, and to conduct administrative hearings to resolve any conflict concerning its policies and actions.

BESE members do not receive salaries, health benefits, or retirement benefits. For each day of service at committee meetings, board meetings, or while on business assigned by the Board, they receive the standard per diem provided by law for members of the state Legislature.  Members are reimbursed for travel expenses incurred to attend Committee/Board meetings, as well as other activities they attend in their capacity as a member of the Board.


Board Powers and Duties

The powers and duties of the Board can be broadly grouped into six main categories, which include:
  • Enacting policies and adopting regulations governing the state-wide operations of public and private elementary/secondary schools, including special schools and entities in Special School Districts 1 and 2;
  • Exercising oversight over functions of the state's three special schools (blind, deaf, physically handicapped), and Special School Districts 1 and 2, including budget and program operations;
  • Administering “8(g)” Education Quality Trust Fund programs and serving as their fiscal/program-control agent;
  • Conducting administrative judicial hearings in cases of conflict deriving from Board policies/actions;
  • Exercising budgetary and fiscal control over state and federal funds for educational programs and services at elementary and secondary schools; and
  • Preparing the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), presenting it to the Legislature for approval, and distributing funds to local school systems.
The Board has other more specifically defined duties assigned to it by law. These include: 
  • Approval of certification requirements for school personnel, including National Teacher Examination scores for classroom teachers and school administrators
  • Adoption of policies for the assessment and evaluation of teachers/administrators;
  • Adoption of policies for the assessment of student performance and for the remediation of students performing below standard;
  • Awarding of diplomas and certificates for successful completion of programs of study;
  • Serving as the local school board for Louisiana’s special schools for the blind, deaf, and physically handicapped;
  • Coordinating the educational programs in Louisiana’s correctional institutions and mental health facilities (Special School Districts 1 and 2);
  • Prescribe a process for the review, adoption, procurement, and distribution of free textbooks and other materials of instruction purchased with state funds;
  • Administration of school food service programs in all schools;
  • Adoption of operating standards for public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools;
  • Administer the 8(g) Quality Trust Fund Program; and
  • Administer the state's charter schools program.